December 12th, 2007
06:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton chairman hits back on reports of campaign disarray

Clinton's campaign chairman denied the campaign was in disarray.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman dismissed newspaper stories that described massive discord among her advisers as “distractions” Wednesday - though he did not address reports that aides are upset with former President Bill Clinton’s recent outspokenness on the campaign trail.

Terry McAuliffe was responding to a story in Wednesday’s New York Daily News that described the campaign in disarray. In the account, the New York senator’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, is described as "very engaged and very agitated,” according to an anonymous Democrat quoted in the piece, who added, that Clinton was yelling at [chief strategist] Mark Penn a lot."

The report quoted other supporters who criticized recent Clinton campaign ads, saying they lacked focus.

In a statement e-mailed to reporters, McAuliffe said Clinton had assembled an “outstanding team” that “remains focused on winning votes,” adding that “the President is thrilled to be helping his wife.” He did not address any of the issues raised or incidents described in the piece.

The story follows several similar reports in recent weeks, including an account by Al Hunt of Bloomberg News that described the former president as “bouncing off the walls at the campaign's ineptitude in the past few weeks.”

The same article said that campaign officials were “privately furious” at him for remarks he made about his opposition to the Iraq war.

- CNN Associate Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • President Clinton
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Bart Simpson, Springfield, Ill.

    Lord, what a stupid story. As if discord in a campaign has anything to do with the issues. I'm not even a Clinton fanatic and I say leave her alone. You idiot "news professionals" have been sounding the Oprah drum so long that it seems you can't for a second think about anything that matters. Get over yourselves. Any high school student could do the jobs you folks are doing.

    December 12, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The Clintons should be furious at _themselves_ because they have both screwed up publicly, she on licenses for aliens, and he on always opposing Iraq, thus exposing the truth about themselves that astute observers have long known. I relish in their slow self-destruction, because she is unelectable and that is now being confirmed.

    December 12, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. S. Wright

    Were I McAuliffe, I would be more worried about how Hillary answers tough questions during debates, than I would be about her campaign in disarray.

    Not being able to answer a tough question with conviction and honest appraisal is what took the wheels off her campaign wagon because image does not win on merit alone.

    Maybe this is why she, and the rest of the Democrat candidates do not want to go on FoxNews.

    December 12, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Carrol Ann Newport, Maine

    I don't think you get to be in the lead (however narrowly)with a campaign in disarray? John McCain's campaign is one that more accurately could be described as disarray, and Mr. Thomson's as well.

    I guess this is a tactic to discourage those who are supporting Hillary, and to attempt to swing the vote away from her. What will we get next, Ann Coulter?

    Too transparent but nice try!

    December 12, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. AJ, IL

    Hillary yelling at her staff...nahhhhh this must be some mistake. Hillary only yelled the White House staff.

    For the love of politics is what keeps Hillary and Bill going and together.

    December 12, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |


    December 12, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Uma, mpls, MN

    CNN turned to junk news , can't go this low CNN; Stop spreading nonsense about any candidate. Hillary's campaign doing fine, don't spread nonsense rumors.

    December 12, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  8. Hart

    I can sense that CNN is learning from Chris Matthew now. Distinguish yourself, outperform your competition. This is not the way.

    December 13, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  9. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    Look closely at this picture of Hillary, there is hair growing right under her nose, just like Hitler. Hillary / Hitler. Hmmm...

    December 13, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Marion, Modesto, Ca

    Dream on. This brilliant woman's campaign is not in tatters as you so hopefully wish. This article seems to attack nearly every aspect of her campaign. Why are you all so hell-bent on trying to make her look desperate? Oh, that's right, by spreading fake info about her, you think you can bolster Obama, the weakest of all the Democratic candidates. You're all in for a big surprise come January/February.

    December 13, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  11. Evan, Roseburg OR

    Interesting. Hillary claiming her campaign is completley under control, when the latest news bulletin is how she's going into damage control over what her advisor said. Funny.

    December 13, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  12. Happy in Hawaii, USA

    Well said/written Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA.

    December 13, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Lets face it, no one in the Clinton camp knows how to play the politics of integrity. They are completely outclassed
    and befuddled.

    David Axelrod said it best – When you have intelligence, grass roots charisma
    and integrity in your candidate there is nowhere to go but up. The only trick
    is measuring out the positive energy
    in the right doses so as to peak at the right moments.

    Hence the madness and disarray in the
    hillary camp that only knows the old phony ways of doing the same old stuff.

    Axelrod is taking them all to school!

    Rock the nation and the world!!!

    Obama 08

    December 13, 2007 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  14. Steve, Portland, OR

    Your campaign is in disaray. It is also important. It shows what type organizational skills and choices Hillary and Bill have made.Too bad you also don't understand that your headed down cause Americans aren't buy it this round. We are sick of corporate greed. We are sick of all special interests being more important than the American citizen. We are sick of your condecending ideas to help us when all we need is a government that functions and promotes its citizens. Recalling Bill signing NAFTA with the Republicans really makes me wonder what Hillary is going to do with our jobs and our health. Sorry your out of touch, thats the issue.

    December 13, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  15. Terry, El Paso, TX

    It makes one wonder how CNN and other news providers decide WHAT to cover and HOW to cover it. While CNN does employ trained journalists, they are not in the news business; they are in the business of selling cars, insurance, and nasal spray. That is, they get more money from advertisers if their ratings are higher. A nice long story about Joe Biden's plan to split Iraq into three autonomous zones would go pretty much unread. However, following the presidential race as if its a football game. The ball is on the fifty yard line and there are ten months to go. Who's making more yardage? Who's got a drug scandal in his past? Who's jockeying for the fullback position? American's understand winning, losing, and points. American's don't understand potential global pandemics, the science of global warming, and the pressures population growth is placing on our infrastructure. We'd rather say, "Go Obama go!"

    December 13, 2007 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  16. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    I will sit by (unattached) and watch it all unravel. We are our own worst enemies afterall.

    Gives Edwards an opportunity to shine. I like that he's keeping himself on the high road.

    Obama, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you just don't have the experience and you lack control of your impulses. The latest "bounce" in his poll numbers was a direct result of Oprah's recent foray into politics.

    Where's Al when we need him?

    December 13, 2007 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  17. Alice, TN

    What an assembly of liars and trailer trash...with Terry McAuliffe as chairman and poster child. My God, why does America have to relive this nightmare.

    December 13, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. ted orlando

    remember that song .... self destruction your headed for self destruction

    BYE Bye Hillary

    Hillary Meltsdown news at 5:00 est

    New novel....The Hillary Melt down of 2008 = best seller

    December 13, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  19. Sean, Boston, MA

    I am thinking this is the kind of crisis that they end up thriving in.

    December 13, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    I believe this is a litmus test on the Democratic party. Despite the star power of Ms. Clinton and OpraBama–it is clear that Mr. Edwards–by staying on his page, not allowing his message and his synergy to be twisted by the polls–his getting his message through!! As Democrats–narrow their focus from "mass appeal" to "meat and potatoes policy agenda"–I foresee a major upset in favor of John Edwards. He is more representative of Democratic principles, he isn't Ivy League groomed and connected–and is the only one among the top ranked who can actually demonstrate his connection to average Americans–and a tradition of bucking the status qou in Washington. I live in a Republican stronghold where the Democratic organizers could fit into one school bus–yet many "average Americans" who are GOP registered and independents, and even some who usually don't vote–are showing a interest in Edwards as the first genuine article to come along in over 30 years.

    December 13, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. Sean, Boston, MA

    Bart Simpson, I am with you on it. I think the press tries to create and overcreate stories. I am a huge presidential politics fan – and yet I am wearing so thin of this campaign. It is no wonder that candidates never stray from message or need to nuance everything or heaven forbid, say something slightly different than what they did 1 year ago. I can think of about a million things that I said a year ago that I might have changed my mind on it today – or forget that I said something and say something differnetly today.

    The press has created candidates that will not speek honestly, candidly, and unscripted.

    December 13, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  22. Speaker

    Latest Rasmussen Poll in Iowa has Clinton ahead by 3 points.

    Latest Suffolk/WHDH Poll in New Hampshire has Clinton ahead by 7 points.

    Obama is dropping like a rock. Probably because people are beginning to realize that he can't win the electoral college and they don't want the Republicans to keep the White House.

    December 13, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. Tom W - Dedham, Mass

    The coronation was short lived and it is for one reason only, these "people" still think they can get away with the BS they did in the 90's.

    A lot has changed information wise since then and the best barometer of that was at the Republican debate where the Clinton\CNN plant was found out BEFORE the debate was over.

    All I want for Christmas is a big screen TV to watch her give her concession speech in tears, blaming everyone but herself and then Billyboy announcing he is leaving her finally after all these years of torture.

    December 13, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. CorruptUsr

    Terry McAuliffe and Bill Shaheen's political shenanigans are what we can expect to see full time from another Clinton administration. Let's not go back to the 90's mentality..

    December 13, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. andrew

    What I don't understand is that if the clinton campaign is showing *any* weakness whatsoever, why isn't John Edwards all over her? He was attacking the crap out of clinton for months, and when she finally is dropping in the polls we don't hear a word out of him? That surely makes no sense!

    December 13, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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